Essential Acoustic Guitar is organized using easy to understand
notation for all the strumming patterns that are covered.
You can navigate through the sequential lessons using the
Forward and Backward on-screen arrows, or use the Menu button
in your DVD player software to go directly to any lesson
you want. Each lesson screen contains a Video button and
an Audio button which can pressed for recorded demonstrations
of the current lesson. The narrator/player is obviously an
experienced teacher and the lesson scripts are clear and
concise. Because Essential Acoustic Guitar is an interactive
DVD, you can repeat lessons or move quickly through lessons
or move at the recommended pace as you see fit.
After you run the DVD for the first time, you'll receive an email containing
a download link to the Essential Acoustic Guitar Downloadable Toolkit.
It contains four utilities which are accessed from a separate program
panel: a tuner, a 250 chord dictionary, a metronome for keeping time,
and a rudimentary recorder. The tuner module curiously has no close
gadget, and because you can only run one of the utilities at a time,
it's annoying to have to close the module via the program menu. The
other modules have their own close gadgets. The audio quality of the
tuner tones is quite low, and some of the tones contain audible ringing,
not the best sort of thing to hear when you're trying to tune a guitar.
The chord dictionary is comprehensive and, usefully, loads and plays
its own good quality sound samples. The metronome is very useful as
well, but again plays its beat at very low audio quality. The recorder
is useful only for quick review, although it will certainly be of value
to those who don't want to fiddle with Windows Recorder on the PC or
Garage Band on the Mac.
the average size of monitors these days, as well as the
serious CPU power present even in five year old PCs and
Macs, there's no reason for the lesson demonstration videos
to be limited to 640x480 resolution. Video quality is acceptable
but not particularly crisp. Give us at least 800x600 resolution
at a quality level which provides a clear view of fine
details. Good eyes can make use of smaller video windows
quite easily and from a comfortable distance, but some
of us have to crowd the guitar close to the edge of the
desk to get a clear view — not the most comfortable
way to learn the guitar. The songs used in the instructions
are very old standards and even some of us who are over 40
could wish for a fresher syllabus.
it's a good DVD. eMedia is a market leader in this kind
of educational computer DVD, and offers dozens of instructional
titles for guitar, bass, piano and keyboard. The lesson
narration in Essential Acoustic Guitar consists of all
the information you'd expect, augmented by interesting
details about the history of some of the songs in the lessons,
how various techniques are used in different kinds of music,
and the ways in which each technique can be modified. The
scope of lessons is quite comprehensive and, properly paced
at two or three lessons per week, will likely take ten
weeks. Don't forget to practice between lessons. Move through
lessons at your own speed. The syllabus is well paced,
clearly narrated and the demonstrator is very good. The
DVD will run on just about any Windows PC or Mac. The bonus
toolkit is useful — the
chord dictionary and metronome in particular. Strumming techniques
are covered properly. After a few lessons, I was back to
my former, vaguely competent playing level. No access to
a computer? The DVD is playable on component DVD players
as well. The main reason I wanted to review Essential Acoustic
Guitar was to help me pick things up again and it worked.
For real beginners. Recommended.